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Manners, Respect, and Responsibility

Greetings Golfers,

I just finished reading an article written by an American who says that American men can’t seem to apologize … anymore. He writes about how in old Westerns they talked about how much courage it took to apologize.

Hmmmm … I think he’s right. We’ve twisted-it-up so that we think apologizing is a sign of weakness. No. Apologizing is stepping-up and taking responsibility. I remember reading an article years ago that had a headline  like “Courageous Leaders Don’t Make Excuses - They Apologize”.

Somehow we’ve made apologizing and good manners into not signs of courage, responsibility, and respect … but into a power/subservient game. Ironically, that attitude turns important pieces of civility into an ugly power game.

My wife and I were watching a show about politicians … and the “hero” was at the mercy of the Secretary of State.

So, when our hero would walk into the Secretary’s office … the Secretary wouldn’t even look-up and acknowledge him … even when they would be having a conversation. But, when our hero left the office … the Secretary looked-up.

Barf. I wanted to punch the guy.

When I write these blogs, I start it with “Greetings Golfers” … I don’t just start writing … I acknowledge you’all … that’s a sign of respect and connection.

Ever walk into a room and the people don’t stop talking and don’t acknowledge you? Well … if you haven’t … it’s not fun. I just usually keep walking. Am I being petty - no, they’re being rude and petty.

When you walk into our Clubhouse … I want our staff to immediately greet you. With warmth and friendliness. This is not being phony … unless our staff doesn’t like you or doesn’t like people in general. If that’s the case … I’ve hired the wrong staff.

Years ago, I worked for a GM who one day pointed at his watch and said “I’m going to get this place to run like a Swiss watch!” I replied “If that’s your goal, you’re going to go crazy and have a terrible atmosphere. We need people to be flexible and able to deal with the constant chaos due to weather, broken machines (carts, mowers, grills, ball-machines, phones, etc), misunderstandings, and just the uniqueness of people. He scowled. Later at one of the lunches … I declared : The basic difference between us is that you don’t like people - but love “humanity” … and that I like people - but I’m afraid of “humanity”.

He also hated good manners. He saw life as just a series of power plays. 

I’m aware of power. And respect it as a tool. But, I try to avoid people who love power plays. They only have good manners for people who have power or can do something for them. They usually treat waiters and waitresses cruelly and disrespectfully. 

Playing golf with people is a great window into their soul. 

The other day, a woman college golfer walked through another player’s putting line. Twitter went crazy. Of course it was disrespectful. But some people took the tack that it didn’t matter and to get over it.

Oh. So life is just about functionality? Cool. Let’s all just become robots and move on.

We have very little drama among our staff at DRGC. I think it’s because I hire for culture. My interviews are mostly about culture. If they get it … they’ll probably get hired. If they don’t get it - I won’t hire them no matter how great their resume is.

Respect and trust are what keep people comfortable with each other. Manners, apologizing and taking responsibility are the constant little things going on all the time between people. To discount them or ignore them is to put the emphasis on power and functionality instead of the joy of being human. 

Well, hopefully we’ll be opening soon. Over the last 30+ years … April 4 is the average opening date. Probably more likely is April 14 (I hope!).

If it is a late opening … I’m not apologizing … the weather is a little out of my hands. Yet, if we’re not friendly when we open - that I will apologize for. But … that’s not happening … we will be fun and friendly.



Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351

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